Vance McDonald was the scorned newcomer a year ago for the Pittsburgh Steelers, a well-paid veteran player who spent a good deal of time standing on the sidelines watching the action in street clothes while nursing injuries rather than contributing to the team’s efforts on the field. There is of course a 2018 edition of the injury scapegoat as well.
That would be Morgan Burnett, the ninth-year veteran safety that the Steelers signed to a three-year contract back in March to become their new starting strong safety after he spent his first eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers.
Despite knowing that Burnett had developed a history of soft-tissue injuries over the course of the past few seasons, which has seemed to become a reliable guarantee of him missing at least a couple of games ever year, the Steelers brought him in, counting on him being healthy.
He hasn’t been, and he may not even be ready to come back on the other side of the bye week, according to recent reports, which has resulted in a baptism by fire for rookie first-round pick Terrell Edmunds, who has played far more than was planned when he was drafted.
But his remaining on the sidelines—having missed the past four games, and limited to a rotation in the season opener as the backup to Edmunds—is not a product of laziness or a lack of proactiveness. As Jeremy Fowler writes, he is using advanced sports technology as part of his rehabilitation process as he recovers from a lingering groin injury.
In an article discussing ActivBody software that incorporates a visual component with detailed statistical information that makes it both engaging for the participant and informative for the observer, Fowler noted that Burnett has been among the most prominent users to “fire those muscles” that have been atrophying while sidelined.
“It monitors the force you’re putting in”, he told Fowler. “You can definitely feel the burn. There are certain areas you’re not used to getting a certain amount of attention to in one area. And it puts you in a video game mindset, but at the same time, you’re working hard”.
For anybody wondering, the Steelers are entirely behind the technology, including longtime strength and conditioning coach Garrett Giemont. “It’s instantaneous engagement, he said. “For the modern-day athlete that plays video games right or left, that’s one of the things that it does—it engages the players”.
And yes, JuJu Smith-Schuster is also one of the most active users on the time. I’m sure he would call it ‘lit’.